How An Athletic Mindset Leads to Entrepreneurial Success
I’ve been athletic my entire life. Growing up in Southern California, I loved to exercise. I taught aerobics throughout college, law school, and business school. From Pilates classes to taking “walking lunches” at work, I am, quite literally, always on the go. My husband and two teenage sons also love sports. We play soccer together and attended sporting events, like baseball games, as a family.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, having this athletic mindset makes all the difference in my professional and personal life. Granted, exercise looks a little bit different these days. I practice Pilates to YouTube videos instead of attending classes in a studio. I have swapped SoulCycle for spinning on the stationary bike at home. My family plays soccer in the backyard instead of on a field. And my walking lunches at work are turning into walking lunches around the neighborhood.
In this difficult time, I find there are many athletic aspects of entrepreneurship. These aspects impact our performance. They keep us going despite the many obstacles ahead and uncertainty we share about the future. When times feel uncertain, here are the certainties of having an athletic mindset that allow us to keep moving and going above and beyond.
Working as a team.
Early on during COVID-19, many businesses used the messaging “we’re all in this together” as a means of fostering camaraderie during this difficult time. The same message also applies to entrepreneurs and business owners. We are all in this together, as a team.
Teamwork means working hard together to accomplish a mission. Even while social distancing and working remote, we are able to connect with each other via Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings. We must be able to suggest new ideas, share feedback with one another, and try out a lot of different initiatives for new products, services, and offerings. If some ideas do not succeed, we do not need to dwell on what did not work out. Initiatives that do succeed, however, allow us to further stay on our game with our customers and meet their needs.
No entrepreneur can do it all on their own. Having the support of a team is critical to the success of a small business.
Putting in the hard work to reach our goals.
If we’re all in this together, then we all need to roll up our sleeves and put in the hard work.
Much like sports, every team member is held accountable for their actions. They also hold other members of the team responsible for their duties and responsibilities. Strong communication, and the ability to listen to each other, plays a big role in keeping one another motivated, engaged, and energized to do their best work.
The COVID-19 pandemic may feel, at the moment, as though there’s no end in sight. However, I am a firm believer that this too shall pass. When it does, we will look back on this time for making our team, and business, stronger for getting through difficult hurdles together.
Having a strong leader to drive everything forward.
Without my team, there would be no way I could handle this difficult time on my own. Further, it’s safe to say that few entrepreneurs can go it alone forever. Strong leaders need amazing teams and amazing teams need strong leaders.
What makes for a great leader during a time of crisis? Ultimately, this individual has to be someone who is able to support their team in a way that encourages engagement and connection. They understand the value, and importance, of frequent communication. They are also able to remain positive, calm, and directed, especially as they focus on opportunities while remaining practical.
In chaotic times, we are able to find order. Strong leaders understand that there is always room to improve and grow as leaders, particularly during times of change and challenges. They use the down time to think and create. This allows leaders, and their team members, to become nimble. In the next normal, they will be prepared to hit the ground running with innovative new ideas and strategies for how to improve all areas of business and life.